The physical Switch game library in China is finally going to expand next week with two big games. Tencent has confirmed that both Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are on the way. Both titles will be available on April 15th, 2020, but it's important to note that they've been available on the eShop since March 16th, 2020.
Millions of people are working from home right now by using virtual meeting software to connect with their fellow employees. Some of those services allow you to spice up your face cam with virtual wallpapers for backgrounds, and numerous game companies have been sharing high-res images for people to use. Nintendo has gotten in on the action with a series of stills from Super Mario Odyssey,w which you can check out above. Certainly beats staring at a blank wall!
Both Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are officially making their way to the Switch in China. Tencent has revealed that both games are going to launch on March 16th, 2020. Customers will have the option to get the game via the Switch eShop or a download card.
Both games have preorder bonuses as well. Super Mario Odyssey customers will get a passport cover, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe preorders come with a sticker sheet. You can check out pictures for each preorder bonus below.
This is a Thought I've been wanting to write for awhile now, but I've been a bit worried about putting it together and sharing. I don't want to ruffle any features, but hopefully it'll lead to good discussion!
I think we can all agree that Mario has had the most impressive run in video games as far as quality is concerned. Mainline Mario games are always top notch. There have been so many entries, and there really isn't a bad one in the bunch. There might be absolutely fantastic entries and really great ones, but it would be tough to find people who believe certain installments to be bad, or flat out terrible.
Keeping up that quality over all these years hasn't been easy, that's for sure. Nintendo is always breaking down not only what makes Mario fun, but what new mechanics they can introduce without having a game not feel like a Mario title anymore. It's an insanely delicate balancing act, but somehow the Big N keeps managing to pull it off. The team behind these games knows what makes Mario tick, and they have a passion for the series like none other.
Now even though there are tons of stellar entries in the Mario franchise, people certainly have their favorites. There will be Mario games people can put above a pedestal above all others, and some games that people will easily place a bit lower down on their list. Again, that doesn't mean the games are bad by any means. They just have a few elements that push them up or down an overall list.
For a lot of players, there are two entries in the Mario franchise that really showcase what Nintendo can do when they're at the top of their Mario game. Those would be Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey. Both games managed to maintain the classic Mario feel while putting their own spin on tried-and-true mechanics, and also breaking new ground for the series. Each entry has been a phenomenal success in terms of critical praise and consumer support, so there's no denying Odyssey and Galaxy are definitely among the best of the best.
That brings us to a very important question. If you were only going to get a sequel to one of these games, or you could have your pick of which game would get a sequel first, which would you choose?
I'll share my answer, but I need to clarify something first. I really do adore Super Mario Odyssey. I find it to be one of the best Mario games out there. Everything from visuals to level building is really impressive, and the sense of scale for the adventure is pretty fantastic. It also includes an insane level of charm across every area, character, and interaction. Super Mario Odyssey made Mario feel more alive than ever before, at least in my opinion.
With that said, the question isn't all that hard for me. While I love Super Mario Odyssey, I was/am completely blown away by Super Mario Galaxy. If I were asked what my favorite Mario games were, my top two would be Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, and their places could be interchangeable. For me, those games marked an unbelievably high point for the Mario series, and brought in a revolution like none other.
There's just something so magical about the Galaxy games. Exploring hugely detailed, open-ended environments in Odyssey was wonderful, but I just don't think it compares to flipping and flying around planets in Galaxy. The feeling of soaring through the air, collecting Star Bits, and playing with gravity were all extremely new elements for a Mario game. Plus, the way they were used in combination was supremely addictive. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 were just pure, unadulterated fun for me.
I also happen to think that the music in both Galaxy 1 and 2 is quite a good deal beyond the score for Super Mario Odyssey. There are a handful of great tunes in Odyssey, but overall, I was a bit let down by some of the tracks. The good ones are REALLY good, but the ones that didn't do anything for me came across as a bit ho-hum and uninspired. Not bad, but not memorable or engaging.
The soundtracks for Galaxy legitimately brought me to tears in some parts. They felt so new for a Mario series, and so extremely epic. They heightened the experience of flying through space and walking upside-down on platforms, planets, and perches. I still regularly listen to the soundtracks for both of those games, but I only listen to a handful of tunes from Super Mario Odyssey, and not nearly as often as Galaxy.
While I do think Odyssey is a great game, my pick goes with Galaxy without question. I would love a Galaxy 3, which I know isn't quite fair, as there's only been one Odyssey so far. I certainly wouldn't be upset if another Odyssey were announced, but I'd be over the moon hearing Galaxy 3 was on the way.
Which series gets your nod for a sequel? Which one do you want to see makes its way back on Switch, and why?
Looking for some new art to showcase your love of Mario? The Nintendo UK store has exactly what you're looking for, as they've just added in six new Super Mario Odyssey art prints. You can snag the pieces you want individually right here.
There’s no doubt about it: Nintendo titles consistently deliver some of the best soundtracks in video games.
And when you start to look into how they consistently meet such high standards, all searches lead back to one name, a man just as visionary and influential as Shigeru Myamoto.
That man is Koji Kondo.
Kondo is like a master chef in a fully stocked kitchen. He creates perfect themes regardless of what he has to work with — from the limitations of an 8-bit cartridge to cooperating with other composers who bring vastly different ideas.
His work has become a secret sauce for Nintendo’s tentpole franchises, something they sprinkle into any dish and instantly capture the magic we all expect from these games.
Sure, sound effects go a long way in establishing certain franchises or characters. But it’s usually the music that made these games resonate with us years or even decades after we played them.
Is Ocarina of Time as memorable without Zelda’s Lullaby or Saria’s Song? Does Mario become a global superstar without the Overworld or Peach’s Castle themes? Kondo earned his reputation, and it’s not hard to see why Nintendo would want him as a music supervisor on every major title.
This past decade brought big changes to Nintendo, especially in the form of new directors, programmers, and composers. But somehow, none of that is slowing Nintendo down.
Every new release raises the bar for its respective genre. Nintendo continues to imagine worlds, characters, and musical themes that create special memories for a new generation of gamers.
So, with that in mind, let’s spend some time paying respect to four of the best Nintendo game soundtracks of the decade.
#4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Music composed by Hajime Wakai (lead), Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama, and Koji Kondo (supervisor)
The Legend of Zelda is a founding father in the history of video games. It’s a major component behind Nintendo’s enduring success, and when you think of the Zelda games, it’s impossible to dismiss the role that Koji Kondo’s music played in this franchise.
You might be surprised to see Skyward Sword made the list instead of, say, Breath of the Wild. But it’s important to remember that while Breath of the Wild might be a better game, Skyward Sword took the franchise’s sense of adventure and “hero vs. villain” conflict to new heights.
After the resounding success of Twilight Princess, fans and critics have always been divided over Skyward Sword. But even with those debates, Skyward Sword brought us one of Nintendo’s strongest soundtracks of the decade.
There’s a lightness and optimism to the core themes, and that tone perfectly encapsulates the game. It’s a great — and traditional — example of Nintendo at its finest.
#3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Music composed by Mahito Yokota (lead), Ryo Nagamatsu, and Koji Kondo (supervisor)
For almost a decade, Galaxy 2 was considered the best 3D Mario game ever made. And if you can manage to turn your attention away from the unique worlds, the gravity mechanics, and the sheer genius of the game design, you’ll get to enjoy an absolutely masterful soundtrack.
Originally, Galaxy 2 was intended to reuse music from its predecessor. But as the game continued to evolve and grow, the sound team (namely lead composer Mahito Yokota) realized that the project deserved new music to match the new worlds.
Unsurprisingly, Yokota was right — the soundtrack quickly became a favorite among fans. And while the music still pays homage to classic Mario games, it combines those tracks with an excellent original score.
#2. Super Mario Odyssey
Music composed by Naoto Kubo (lead), Shiho Fujii, and Koji Kondo
When you look at tracks like Shiveria Town, the New Donk City Festival song, or even the remastered version of Peach’s Castle from Mario 64, Odyssey’s soundtrack ranks up there among Nintendo’s absolute best.
Odyssey brought a very different (and in some cases “weird”) sound to the Mario franchise. The different kingdoms have unique sounds, and each one explores different music genres, time signatures, and instrument mashups.
And yet for all of that tinkering, the game still matches the joyful tone of the game. Odyssey managed to capture an almost childlike sense of wonder, and the soundtrack added to that.
It’s a special achievement for the Mario franchise and Nintendo’s poster child. And in any other decade it would be impossible to choose another soundtrack over Odyssey.
#1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Original music composed by Hideki Sakamoto (with help from dozens of other composers, including Koji Kondo)
Alright, this pick is a bit unfair to every other game released last decade. After all, how many other titles get the benefit of pulling songs from the best games of the past 30 years?
But in terms of ranking soundtracks, it’s impossible to ignore what Ultimate brings to the table. The game is a love letter to fans of every type of game, and it’s clearly something meant to celebrate the industry as a whole.
The soundtrack is so broad and expansive that you might as well think of it as an all-in-one Spotify playlist for the most influential songs of gaming history.
Series creator and director Masahiro Sakurai is an industry legend, and when it comes to developing a new Smash game, the biggest question is “Which fighters can we add to the roster?”
The current list of playable characters will reach an astounding 81 by the end of February 2020. Bringing that many characters and franchises together is an enormous (and somewhat terrifying) amount of work for a single game.
The roster size and the number of stages all play a part in choosing which songs to use, and Sakurai made a bold choice on how they would develop Ultimate’s soundtrack.
He took the list of games represented in the game, then reached out to the composers who worked on those titles. Then he asked those composers to determine how their pieces would be used in Ultimate. The entire process took well over a year before they had a final list of songs.
Developing Ultimate is the video game equivalent of assembling the Avengers. And the result is...well, maybe not “original” music, but it gave us an unforgettable mashup that represented our favorite characters, worlds, and songs.
The game’s 800+ tracks delivers a whopping 28 hours of music, and one of the most unique collections in the history of games. A soundtrack that special is just one more gift from Sakurai to us, and it easily deserves to be considered the best Nintendo soundtrack of the decade...if not ever.
Of course, 2020 kicks off a new decade. And while we saw big changes across Nintendo over the past few years, it’s clear that there are even more changes to come. Figures like Miyamoto, Sakurai, and Kondo are irreplaceable geniuses; they’re also mortal.
One thing we can be confident in — that we’ve seen for ourselves — is that the future of our favorite franchises are in capable hands. As much as I loved the games on this list (and the ones that didn’t make the cut), I’m already excited to see what the next decade has in store.
...and, of course, the soundtracks that will be stuck in my head for months at a time.
Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a royalty free music company that helps filmmakers and musicians do what they love. He's also a lifelong gamer who will happily debate why Ocarina of Time is still the greatest game ever made.
The Art of Super Mario Odyssey book reveals that in addition to the fork-like Volbonans, the Luncheon Kingdom was intended to feature a second teapot-like species called Temple Guardians. They, along with the temple they were supposed to guard, are not found in the finished game. pic.twitter.com/NprotAKfbq
For every bit of content that made it into Super Mario Odyssey, there's something that ended up cut. One of those cut aspects were the Temple Guardians of the Luncheon Kingdom. This means that not only were Temple Guardians cut, but the temples they were meant to protect as well. Maybe they'll find their way into a sequel!
Super Mario Odyssey has gotten a ton of love from Switch owners, but there's still millions of fans who can't put down Mario's original 3D platformer, Super Mario 64. Why pick between two great games when you can enjoy them both at the same time? One skilled modder has taken Super Mario Odyssey's Wooded Kingdom and recreated it in Super Mario 64 to great effect. Check out the impressive mod in the video above.